Communication accommodation between patients and health professionals: Themes and strategies in satisfying and unsatisfying encounters

Bernadette Maria Watson, Cynthia Gallois

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines the relationship between remembered language behaviour and evaluations of interactions between patients and health professionals in hospital settings. One hundred and thirty-four participants rated 16 descriptions of conversations on 13 items derived from Communication Accommodation Theory (CAT). A thematic analysis of the descriptions had suggested more interpersonal themes for the descriptions of satisfying interactions, and more negative intergroup themes in unsatisfying ones. Ratings were analysed by means of 2x2 ANOVAs, with sex of rater as a between-subjects variable and type of conversation as a repeated measure. In general, satisfying conversations were rated as containing accommodative use of discourse management, emotional expression, and interpersonal control strategies. Unsatisfying conversations were rated as more overaccommodative or counteraccommodative on these strategies. Discussion centres on differences between themes in the original descriptions, and the predictive value of CAT in distinguishing between satisfying and unsatisfying encounters between patients and health professionals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-180
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Applied Linguistics (United Kingdom)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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